Pubdate: Wed, 22 Jan 2003
Source: Huron Expositor, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2003 The Huron Expositor
Author:  Jennifer Jackson


Seaforth Public students spent a day with Huron OPP officers last week 
learning about Crime Stoppers and drugs.

Senior Constable Don Shropshall spoke to Grade 6 and 8 classes Jan. 14 
about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

"Right now the students are at the age where we feel we can change their 
minds about drugs," Shropshall explained.

"In Grades 6 to 8 they're past the kid stage and starting to become young 
adults. They become a little harder to get through to once they've reached 
high school."

Shropshall gave the younger class a basic overview of tobacco and alcohol 
and how it affects their bodies.

"They tried these glasses on that simulated the feeling of being 
intoxicated," said SPS Grade 6 teacher Carolyn Griffin.

"It was very revealing for them and they were surprised by how much the 
glasses affected them immediately."

Students timed themselves walking through an obstacle course in the 
classroom with and without the glasses on.

"It took them almost one-and-a-third times as long to get through with the 
glasses on," laughed Griffin.

The presentation for older students went beyond basic information and 
explained what occurs in cases of alcohol poisoning and crashes caused by 
drunk driving.

"The kids were very perceptive to the program and shocked by the explicit 
video showing how alcohol and tobacco can damage the liver and lungs," 
commented SPS Grade 8 teacher Georgina Reynolds.

"We want to give them the information to make intelligent decisions when 
faced with peer pressure situations."

Shropshall said that he sees local schools becoming interested in the OPP 
awareness programs this year. In the fall, he spoke to the Grade 8s about 
harassment and vandalism.

"It's part of the health and guidance curriculum and if there are experts 
available, we might as well be using them," said Reynolds. Presentations on 
bullying, 911 emergencies and bicycle safety have also been scheduled for 
the future.

Crime Stoppers coordinator Steve Beasley also spoke to the older students, 
as part of the Crime Stoppers month student awareness program.

He encouraged the students to report any information they have about crimes 
committed or planned within their school or community.

"The students responsible for Columbine had a plan and other kids heard of 
their plan, but didn't tell anyone," Beasley explained. "If they would've 
called an organization like Crime Stoppers the police would've intervened 
and those kids would still be alive today. Just a simple call can make a 
world of difference."

Last year Crime Stoppers received 11 calls from Seaforth residents and one 
charge was laid.

Beasley told students that Crime Stoppers is currently helping police solve 
Huron East crimes such as the garbage can fire at a Seaforth bank and 
stolen snowblowers.

"We get calls in every day, but it's not like on television, it takes a 
little longer and there's no standard time," he explained. "Whether it's a 
few weeks or a couple months, the bottom line is that the bad guys have got 
to get caught."

Reynolds can see her students benefit from interacting with police in the 

"I think it's good for the OPP to be involved in the classrooms and be seen 
as a positive thing."

"At this age kids are beginning to get curious about drug and alcohol. It's 
definitely an issue that's out there and on their minds," said Griffin.
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